Spring Stories & Eggs

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Books: 
The Boy Who Didn’t Believe in Spring  by Lucille Clifton; pictures by Brinton Turkle
1973, Dutton
The Spring Rabbit by Joyce Dunbar; illustrated by Susan Varley  
1994, Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc.

Mustard
April is mustard growing time

Although we’re at the end of spring break, I have to say it’s still pretty chilly here, not to mention rainy.  I know a lot of you are in mud season or even still socked under a load of snow.


Here are two books about how Spring can often feel a long time coming.  The Boy Who Didn’t Believe in Spring is about a little boy called King Shabazz who didn’t believe in Spring.  One day he gets fed up of hearing about crops growing and bluebirds (which seem mythical to him), and about Spring being just around the corner.   He sets off with his best friend Tony on a big adventure: around the corner.
 


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Along the way they see many interesting things in their neighbourhood, and the illustrations are really fun and realistic, showing the ’70’s city scene as the kids walk through it.  The clothes and the cars alone are great.
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Of course in the end they do find Spring, and it’s as magical and wonder-inspiring as it should be, even though it’s only the tiniest of signs.  Which is a nice message and a good reminder that wherever we live, Spring is for us too…even if we don’t currently have nice weather or wildflower meadows to frolic in!


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This is a really fun story which has a powerful feeling of a specific time and place, but it’s also pretty timeless.  It’s very effective at getting the reader into the mindset of a child and allowing us to feel the wonderment at very little things which kids (even those who think they know it all!) feel.
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The next book is called The Spring Rabbit and is about a rabbit named Smudge who desperately wants a sibling to play with, but everyone keeps telling him to wait until Spring.


Smudge has a very hard time waiting through the Autumn and Winter. He keeps looking and hoping, but everyone continually tells him to wait until Spring.



Finally, Spring arrives and Smudge gets two brothers and a sister!

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This book really conveys the frustration of waiting for something, whether it’s a new sibling or Springtime, so it would certainly be a useful read for a child who is impatient about something.  The illustrations are light and airy and have a real springy feeling.

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When I think of Spring food I automatically think of eggs.


When it comes to eggs, it’s best to get the highest quality ones that you can.  We are very lucky to live near a farm where we can get eggs from very happy pastured chickens.  You can tell from how orange the yolks are that they have a lot of nutrition.  Here are three ways to make eggs that are almost as enticing as Weissman’s buns and the take-out shop bar-b-q.

Eggs with Spring Greens

Ingredients
4 pastured eggs
2/3 cup milk (or coconut milk)
1 Tbsp butter or coconut oil
1 leek, chopped
2 cups sugar snap peas (mange tout), chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 handful fresh sprouts such as mustard or cress
Any other greens of choice (optional)
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
Hot sauce to serve (optional)

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Method
Heat the butter in a pan over a medium heat until it is a little sizzly. Add the garlic, leeks, peas, most of the sprouts, and any other green things you like. Cook down until the leeks are getting soft, about five minutes. Add the eggs and milk together in a bowl with the salt and pepper and whisk them until they are frothy. Then take the vegetables out of the pan and put them aside. Add a little more butter if you need it, and still on a medium heat, add the eggs. As they are cooking, pull the eggs in from the sides with a spatula to make big curds. When the eggs are mostly cooked (which should take no more than a couple of minutes) spoon the greens on top of them and cover the pan with a lid for another couple of minutes. To serve, top with the remaining mustard sprouts and hot sauce.


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Two other nice ways to serve eggs are:
1. On toast with spinach and kombu.
2. With fried rice, green beans, carrots, peas, and sauerkraut.


Happy Spring, everyone!  I’m sure it will be here soon enough.

Go on a signs of Spring walk and see what you can find.  We saw these beauties  today by the side of the road:
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Snapshots: March 30th, 2017

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Books:
i-SPY Creepy Crawlies and i-SPY Trees
2016, Collins
Poem:
A Calendar of Sonnets: March by Helen Hunt Jackson

How is Spring where you are?  Here it is in full bloom and today we finally had a properly warm day.  It’s so nice to be able to hang the washing on the line again!

Here is what we’ve been up to lately.

Books

Currently I’m reading a couple of mysteries, but we’ve also been going about looking for signs of Spring with some i-SPY books.

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Our Spring book basket

These are particularly fun because you earn points for each species you spot, but there are many nature guides/books out there.  The RSPB Handbook of British Birds comes out whenever we see a strange bird on the feeder.  If you want a book to read rather than use as a field guide, my husband has been reading The Wood for the Trees: The Long View of Nature from a Small Wood by Richard Fortey.  I’ll get back to you if he has any thoughts on it.  So far this Spring I have spotted, among others: a wren, dunnocks, robins, goldfinches, honey bees, bumblebees, snowdrops, crocuses, daffodils, violets, primroses, and various flowering trees including cherry, apple, and blackthorn.

It’s a great time to go for a walk and see what you can spot!  Even small spaces like lawns, hedges and flowerpots will have an amazing world of minibeasts waking up and starting to roam about.  And even if you are still snowed in, if you look closely the trees should be budding and birds returning.

Food

The other day my husband made marmalade, which we have never done before.  It was quite a production, but now we have a row of gleaming jars full of citrusy goodness.  I personally don’t like marmalade, but if you, like my husband and Paddington Bear, are a fan, it’s one of the easier preserves to make.

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Marmalade is nice on a toasted tea cake or even hot cross bun on one of those still-chilly mornings.  And if you don’t like it, you could have lemon curd instead.  Citrus fruits are really nice to have in the colder months, when there are fewer fruits around.

Life

Right now our windowsills are just covered in a variety of seedlings, gathering their strength indoors before they face the cold.  There are rows of dahlias, citruses, Black-eyed Susans, and even a little maple grown from seed.

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No doubt it will be cold and blustery again tomorrow, but the seedlings are a cheerful sight and fill us with expectation for the Summer.

What have you been reading/eating/doing this March?

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Snapshots: October 10th, 2016

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Book:
Seven Keys to Baldpate by Earl Derr Biggers
2015, Clue Publishing
Poem:
Old October by Thomas Constable

So where have I been?  Well, I’ve been moving house.  We moved from one county to another, as well.  As I’m sure you guys know, moving house is THE WORST, we’re still living out of boxes, and so I haven’t been reading a lot or making much food that doesn’t come out of a box or a tin.

However, I thought a little update was in order.  So here is what I have been up to lately.

Books

I don’t know if I ever mentioned it, but my favourite thing to read, besides kid’s books, is a good Golden Age mystery.  And while I do prefer paper books, the Kindle app can be useful during busy times.  I’m currently reading this:

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Seven Keys to Baldpate by the interestingly-named Earl Derr Biggers. Image from Amazon.com.

I’m only a couple of chapters in, and I’m not sure what I think of it yet.  While it’s hugely entertaining and has a great tone and sense of humour, I’m not quite sure where it’s going.  It was written in 1913, and one of the chapters seems to be anti-suffragists, but that’s a risk you run with old books.  Also, that chapter is narrated by a character who may be being made fun of by the author himself, so you never can tell.  I am still really enjoying it, but I am thinking of waiting to finish it until the Winter, because I like my books to be seasonal, and it has a great snowed-in atmosphere.

I do recommend reading mysteries in the Fall.  They are an inexhaustible resource; even when you have got through Christie and Sayers there are so many more obscure authors to read, and you might find a hidden gem.  Seven Keys to Baldpate, for example, is free on the Kindle app, and you never know what you might find cheap by having a nose around Amazon or your library book sale.

Food

We are having to be very frugal in our new circumstances, but two things which are cheap and comforting are tea and oatmeal.  If you don’t eat oats I still recommend the lovely comfort of a hot bowl of something: soup or broth, for example.  And tea is the best for making you feel like you are treating yourself!  It does not need to be fancy.  Here I am having Good Earth Sweet & Spicy tea which is maybe the yummiest tea ever made.  And for bedtime you cannot beat Sleepytime.

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The pumpkin spice cookies are from a mix so we won’t talk about them 🙂 Although I did make the frosting with honey, butter, and pumpkin spice liqueur.

Life

As I said, moving takes over everything so we haven’t had time for much. But we have made time to explore the countryside around our new house. We are so lucky to be able to live in the cutest little village now, with lots of fields and hedgerows. But no matter where you are, there is usually a field or a park or a pick your own or a community garden where you can:

img_2654It’s a bit late in the year and a lot has been picked over, but we found rose hips, haws, sloes, bullace, damsons, and of course blackberries.  There will hopefully be enough to make at least one jar of hedgerow jam or chutney for the Winter.  And it is just fun to do!

What are you reading/eating/doing this October?

I will hopefully be back with another post before the end of October, as things settle in.  As soon as the books are unpacked I will have to have another read of Squashed, for sure!

I’ll leave you with a poem for those of us who are all about this time of year and the coziness it brings!

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